“God, please, no…not again.” I tried pleading. I tried bargaining. Then it was over. We’d lost another baby. Waves of depression rolled over me like a heavy blanket. I tried to pray, but it felt like a one way conversation. When I felt like I needed my Father the most, I felt abandoned. Why couldn’t I hear His voice? I longed for Him to comfort me, but I just couldn’t seem to find Him.
Outwardly, I just kept going. My church attendance didn’t change. My theology didn’t change. But inwardly, now that was another story. Inwardly, sub-consciously, I’d become double-minded. “God will never abandon me…but I feel abandoned.” “God still does miracles…but I didn’t get the one I asked for.” “God still speaks today…but He seems silent when I need Him the most.”
My response? I stuffed. I ignored. I just kept going. For 25 years. I dragged all the pain around. I compartmentalized it. Or so I thought. Others could see it spilling over. My family paid the price for my denial. They lived with it. Now, looking back, I hope my experience will help others to move more quickly through the healing process than I did. Here’s what it took me 25 years to see:
Sometimes God speaks in ways that we don’t recognize. I wanted to hear in the way I wanted to hear. When God didn’t speak that way, I gave up. I went into emotional lockdown. Sub-consciously, I think I wanted to hear an internal-audible word from God. Or a divine visitation. When neither happened, I felt abandoned.
I have since come to understand that the word of God is an intensely intimate way to hear from God. When we don’t hear from Him in the way we want, the Bible is a precious way of hearing. Seek His comfort in His word. Allow His promises to soak into your emotional pain. Rest there. His word is for YOU. Receive His comfort as you read it.
Another thing I learned about healing after a miscarriage is that unprocessed pain doesn’t heal on its own. Like an untended wound, it tends to get infected. Emotional wounds get infected by lies when we don’t face them head on. Lies like I believed: “God has abandoned me.” “God can’t or won’t fix this depression.” “God is secretly angry at me.”
How do we begin to process the pain? We take a step toward intimacy with God. This is how I step into this:
First, I take my eyes off of myself. Off of my pain. I look at Him. I enter His presence with praise. I worship Him for who He is…my comforter. My Prince of Peace. The faithful One. The restorer of my soul. Even if I don’t feel like these things are true, I declare that they are true. We are entering the throne room of the great King of Kings. We don’t enter empty-handed. We bring Him a gift. The gift of praise.
Secondly, I choose intimacy. This requires honesty.
Intimacy with God means two things:
I-see-you (worship) and into-me-you see. (honesty)
Intimacy goes both ways. Intimacy requires that we tell God what’s in our hearts. Even when what we’re feeling isn’t pretty. Especially when it isn’t pretty. Sometimes people have the perception that it dishonors God to tell Him that we’re angry at Him. Here’s the deal: He already knows! He knows what’s in our hearts even better than we do! Talking about it is the equivalent of cleaning infection out of a festering wound. It’s a necessary step. Painful, yes. Ugly, yes. If we choose not to go there, we live with on-going pain and walls between ourselves and God. This is what it looked like for me to step into intimacy with God:
“God, I feel like when I needed you, you weren’t there. I felt like you stone-walled me with silence. When my heart felt like it was bleeding, I felt rejected and unloved by you. Where were you? Don’t you care? Why didn’t you save my babies? You have the power to save them. Why didn’t you?”
Brutally honest. Get it out. Lay it on the table. Cry in His presence. Let Him comfort you. And He will. And then,…
Always end with declarations of His faithfulness. Let Him know that He is the foundation of your hope. Tell Him that you believe that He is all that He says He is…the One who will never leave you or forsake you, your comforter, etc. If we skip this vital step, all we’ve done is griped in His presence. It’s SO important that we bring this full circle. We see this pattern in King David’s psalms. Pain, brutal honesty, declarations of faith. Worship.
Escape is a movie about a young couple grieving after a miscarriage. It’s a fictional story of a father’s journey from stuffing his pain to honesty. Desperate circumstances cause his pain to spill out, and he’s finally able to be honest with God.
May you have the courage to step into intimacy with the One who loves you most,
Link to the movie Escape: